Saint Row The Third Remastered – Hot Female Character Creation
Saint Row The Third Remastered – Hot Female Character Creation

Iris Ophelia’s ongoing review of gaming and virtual world fashion

If you’re unfamiliar with the Saints Row videogame franchise, you may have dismissed it as yet another game full of gangs and guns. That’s exactly the first impression I had, but the demo of the game’s powerful character customization tools (my Achilles heel) was enough to catch my eye and give the game a second look. Given the fantastic variety possible (and, unlike Grand Theft Auto, the ability to play as a female or even transgendered character) I wasn’t surprised to hear even my fashionista friends gushing over it. For me, it’s become the game to play when Skyrim gets a bit too stressful. It’s a ridiculously fun exercise in complete, sandbox gaming chaos, and also a virtual fashion lover’s delight. Hell, you even earn experience for shopping and changing your appearance– how could I have anything bad to say about a game like that?

But as much as I love Saints Row:The Third and its customization tools, I can’t help but notice that it’s still failing female gamers like me in a painfully common way:

I like to think I’m pretty pro at styling avatars these days, but Saints Row threw more feature customization sliders at me than I could handle. Dozens of sliders for even the most seemingly minute details, and I usually prefer too many sliders than too few. I know you expect me to say “the boobs are all too big” now, or “the women are all too thin and perfect”, but Saints Row gives you complete control over almost every aspect of your avatar. Yes, I chose to make that slim and sexy avatar (I’ll turn in my feminist card first thing tomorrow morning.)

No, in this case my issue has nothing to do with the usual bimbo bodytype forced on female avatars in so many games, because the Saints Row developers know women love this game just as much as men do. They’ve definitely tried to keep itaccessible to those elusive “girl gamers”.

And that’s the problem:

It’s clear enough that developers know women play and enjoy Saints Row, but this awareness means that they often fall prey to the same things that the rest of the gaming industry does when faced with a female audience: It sometimes feels like they’ve asked themselves explicitly “What do girls like?”, and the answers they come up with are (more often than not) “Magical and/or sexy”.

This became painfully obvious when I tried to tattoo my fabulous femme fatale character, and found that the majority of options were either stereotypically macho ink… or fairies and waterlilies, with very few designs in between.

Well, no big deal, those tattoos will be covered by clothes anyway, right? But that takes me to my next point:

When it comes to clothing, I still couldn’t dress my retro bombshell gang boss exactly as I’d hoped. The question “What do girls wear?” has left a similarly cavernous divide in your character’s potential wardrobe, between sexy things and everything else. (And where “everything else” usually means clothing modeled specifically for the male avatar that fits a female about as well as you’d expect.) I haven’t been able to make any outfits I’m truly happy with yet because there is so little middle ground between Tomboy and Diva, and the same problem carries over to the character animations. When a choice is given, it’s between actions that would be at home either at a frat house or a strip club, with no steps in between. With Saints Row, it was easier to style a vehicle to match my personality than it was to style my character.

It’s frustrating to me because there is so much in this game that seems tailor-made for gamers like myself (things that the vast majority of games still don’t value as much as they should) that I feel like I should be grateful. Even if I’m not wearing the OMG PERFECT OUTFIT YOU GUYS, it’s still an incredibly fun and flexible game (watch the machinima montage above if you’re in doubt.) That said, the shortcomings of Saints Row are issues that the gaming industry as a whole needs to deal with. You can’t condense the tastes of all male gamers into three words or less, so what makes female gamers any different?

Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.

You are watching: New World Notes: Saints Row The Third: Great Game, But Good Example of How Developers Still Fail Female Gamers. Info created by Bút Chì Xanh selection and synthesis along with other related topics.